300 arrested as police send out 'strong message' in fight against crime
More than 300 people have been arrested today in what Avon and Somerset Police said was one of the largest operations of its kind carried out by the force.
A day of raids across Somerset, Bath and Bristol saw 306 people arrested as part of the Operation Relentless crackdown on crime.
It involved around 1,000 police officers, special constables, police community support officers and police staff.
A number of significant drugs-related arrests were among the 306 made today.
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A cannabis factory was uncovered at Burnham Road, Highbridge, and plants seized from a property. A 34-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of the cultivation of cannabis.
In Weston-super-Mare, police seized a number of cannabis plants from a flat in Upper Bristol Road, and dismantled three cannabis factories.
Police in Street arrested a 21-year-old man and 17-year-old woman following the execution of an arrest warrant. Officers seized 20 bags of what is believed to be cannabis.
Assistant chief constable Anthony Bangham said: "Relentless has been running for seven years and has two main aims – reinforcing what we do on daily basis in targeting criminals head-on and providing further public reassurance through visible high impact policing.
"Today we have arrested more than 300 suspected criminals, which sends out a strong message that crime does not pay in Avon and Somerset.
"Some of the people we have arrested today have been a blight on their local communities.
"And some of those offenders have been arrested as a result of intelligence and information provided by members of the public, acting as our 'eyes and ears'.
"Today's operation has been one of the largest undertaken in Avon and Somerset, providing reassurance to our communities and making them feel safe where they live and work."
In Yeovil, police seized 500kg of suspected stolen lead and also arrested one man on suspicion of theft from a vehicle.
There were 54 arrests made in West Somerset, including 27 in Taunton and 20 in Sedgemoor.
Chief Superintendent Daimon Tilley said: "Today large numbers of police officers and police staff have been mobilised across the district.
"Officers have been involved in early morning raids all across the area, targeting criminals who cause harm within our communities.
"We have made had a significant number of arrests as a result.
"We have also been out and about in the community doing patrols and speaking with members of the public to provide reassurance and explain what we have been doing."
There were 27 arrests made in North Somerset after a series of raids targeted suspected drug dealers, burglars, robbers and people who have been evading justice by failing to appear at court.
Officers dismantled three cannabis factories, and called Trading Standards representatives to one address after 14 pairs of Ugg Boots were found.
Around 80 wraps of suspected heroin and crack cocaine were also seized, with a street value of around £1,000.
North Somerset District Commander Chief Superintendent Julian Moss said: "Today marks the final week of a two-month long Relentless operation in which we have been targeting the offenders arguably causing the most harm and fear in our communities.
"Since its start on September 11, we have made more than 100 arrests in North Somerset, for offences ranging from burglary and theft to robbery and car crime."
Inspector Liz Hughes co-ordinated the police's work in the community, and said the response from the general public in North Somerset had been excellent.
"The response has been brilliant," said Inspector Hughes.
"People are pleased to see us taking decisive action against criminals blighting their neighbourhoods and keen to share information with us. We already have some excellent leads to work with.
"We also did vulnerable vehicle checks, which will mean 130 people receive letters from us with crime prevention advice."
A further 36 arrests were made in Bath and North East Somerset, including several in connection with alleged drug offences.
A 31-year-old man was arrested in Twerton on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply. He was bailed.
More Class A drugs were found at an address in Bridewell Lane, Bath, and a 40-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply.
A small cannabis factory was found at a flat in Snow Hill and two mature plants were seized. The flat was empty and no-one was arrested.
In Tennis Court Avenue, Paulton, a drugs warrant was executed at 8.15am and what police say was a 'significant' amount of Class A drugs was found.
A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis with intent to supply, and bailed.
White powder and scales were found and a 22-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply drugs.
Another drugs warrant was carried out at 8.20pm in Sycamore Road, Radstock. A 25-year-old man was arrested and bailed on suspicion of possessing a small amount of ammunition. A 32-year-old woman was arrested and bailed on suspicion of possessing cannabis.
At Hope Place, Paulton a 21-year-old man was cautioned for possessing cannabis.
A total of £5,968 was recovered by the execution of fine default warrants.
HELP POLICE FIGHT CRIME IN SOMERSET